My journey as a refugee from the war in Yemen till now – there’s always imprisonment and detention waiting for me.

A Yemini asylum seekers tells us his experiences of coming to the UK and his fears about his removal on the 17th September

My brothers and I arrived in the UK on June 24. This was our third attempt. On the first attempt, the engine stopped, and the second time, the boat started sinking. My younger brother can’t swim so he started drowning, but thank God I was able to help him and we came back. 

As we were close to arriving, we saw that the fuel on the boat was running out. We signalled to a ship to help us. It came close and we saw it was a French war ship. We panicked. We had been there for 6-7 hours already in the boat. We weren’t at all comfortable, and we were terrified – we felt we would drown. The French ship came close and asked if we needed help. We said no we don’t need anything. We preferred to stay in the sea for hours than to go back to France. 

They started laughing at us. We were terrified. After 30 mins we saw a British boat – when we saw the British flag we felt – I can’t explain it – we felt like the efforts had all paid off, we were overjoyed. We were in British waters. We finally arrived at a place called Dover. 

We were exhausted, we’d been travelling at sea from 4pm to 7-8am the next morning. But when we arrived, they didn’t let us rest; they photographed us, searched us, asked us lots of questions, where we’re from, how old we are, etc. But there were no translators, so I tried to translate because I know a little English. Then they put us in a bus and took us to a police station. The police were very serious, they didn’t smile or anything; the joy that was in our hearts from arriving there meant we didn’t care about their treatment. They weren’t happy at all. Even the doctors in Dover weren’t happy. Maybe because lots of boats arrived that day. When I arrived, I had seen my friends from Calais that had also arrived. We saw the police’s faces – they weren’t happy at all that we had arrived.

We had to stay in the police station for many hours – I can’t remember how many. Maybe 5 hours or more. There were more proceedings to be carried out – apparently the questions they asked in Dover weren’t enough. We waited some more before they put us back on the bus. They told us we were near London. We went to a detention centre. It was made up of rooms, each with a toilet. It was like a prison. 

I was there for 4-5 days. They gave us clothes, because our own clothes were full of sea water. We were happy even though we were in prison, because we were with our friends and we had arrived in the UK. Each day we were happier. After 4 days they did another interview with us. Why did you come to the UK? We said we want to claim asylum. They asked more and more questions.

The guards were very angry. I would ask for something, like I wanted a remote. They would say ‘Do you think you’re in a five star hotel? You’re in prison’. They were harsh with us. We asked for a cup to drink from, anything, even a plastic one. They gave us a disposable plastic one which we threw away after using. The next day they said ‘Where is your cup? You already had one’. No-one spoke Arabic. Many of us don’t speak English. Rather than trying to understand, they would shout at us. They were harsh with us, but we had to put up with it. We had to be quiet and take it – we’re refugees. 

Then they moved us to the hotels. It’s called Holiday Inn, and it was 5 stars. Of course, imagine, guys coming from the forest in Calais, where it’s freezing cold and you’re sleeping on the ground and facing racism from the French police and even from other refugees. Imagine going from that to a 5 star place, it was like heaven to us – there was a bath. To wash in Calais there was always an enormous queue. We would wait for hours just to wash for 5 minutes. They would say: ‘Here’s the water, go go go,’ and we would have to rush to wash. So when we were in this hotel and saw a proper bath we couldn’t believe it. We also had no opportunity to wash our clothes in Calais but here we could. We had what we needed, except for money. Food and drink was provided at the hotel. We were there for a month. They said it was because they had to check about coronavirus and that we would stay for 15 days, but it ended up being longer. 

After one month, we began communicating with an organisation which could help with residence and food. We were talking to them daily to ensure we could live together, me and my brothers. My father was already in the UK, and we wanted to see him and go and live with him. 

We were moved into a house after one month in the hotel, and our father was moved into the same house. When we saw our father, we were so happy. My mother, who is not in the UK, was also delighted that we were together again. But we were only together for one or two weeks. Every day was joy. We cooked, laughed together, like any family. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner together, we went out together and did everything together. We went looking to see if we could study. We had ambitions. 

All this time we were hearing about people being detained. We were terrified that it would be our turn next. After all this exhaustion and everything that had happened, and then the joy of seeing our father, it would be so hard to be taken away. 

It was a Friday, we were at home, and I was studying English. We had planned to go out that day to sort out some insurance papers. The house was nice; it had bedrooms, a bathroom and even a garden where we could plant things. We were thinking of planting onions and tomatoes. 

Around 5 or 6pm, I heard sounds on the stairs. I heard more than ten people. They were really loud on the stairs. I didn’t expect there would be 10 police or people from immigration coming to get us. I thought we might get a letter from the Home Office or something. There were 10 or maybe more people. Straight away, when we opened the door one of them started shouting at us. I was really scared. They pushed themselves in. Said empty your pockets. I felt hopeless. They said you are going to be deported to Spain. 

They didn’t let us say goodbye to our father. They took us away, all three of us. We said to him, inshallah we will see you soon, and then we left. I had hoped the neighbours would come out and help us, and stop them taking us away. They tried to put each one of us in a vehicle, but in the end put me and my older brother in one bus, and my younger brother in a second bus. They took us to a police station. It was terrifying. There was an iron bed with a really thin mattress, we felt the iron more than the sponge of the mattress. After 5 or 6 hours they took me away by myself, and I asked where my brothers were. They said something about the coronavirus. They took us to Brook House – my brothers were together but I wasn’t with them. 

As soon as I arrived, I met people from Syria and Yemen, and I knew many of them from Calais. We greeted each other, saying we hope we all get out soon. But I still couldn’t see my brothers. I didn’t see them for five days. I kept looking for them and asking them where they were. I told them I would hurt myself if I didn’t see them. Finally, five days later I saw them. 

We tried to refuse eating, to show them that we were protesting what was happening. They treated us like criminals. We went on a hunger strike for 4 days. At first the Serco employees encouraged us nicely to eat, but then they changed their attitude and started saying ‘You will be deported in any case, the Home Office won’t change their minds, so what are you doing?’ After 4 days, they wore us down, a few of the guys started eating so we decided to eat too. Luckily there was an organisation which put us in touch with good lawyers. My lawyer would call me almost every day and follow up with my case, and she told me that I had a strong case and that I should be patient. She also referred us to a good psychiatrist who followed up with us. She helped us on lots of different levels. We owe her a lot.

The problem we are in now is one of life and death. Our first deportation ticket was Sep 3, for me and other guys from Syria and Yemen. Thank God, my ticket was cancelled. But sadly about 10 or 11 people from Syria were deported to Spain. The way they were deported was as if they were criminals. 3 people from Serco would go to the room to take just one person. Overall there were about 25-30 people from Serco there on Sep 3 to remove the group to the flight. They were giving us awful looks and didn’t say anything nice to us. We tried to say hello to them and they said nothing, they didn’t smile, nothing. 

The treatment was terrible, some of the Syrians would say things like ‘even in Syria it wasn’t like this’. 

I was terrified after I saw this on Sep 3. I went back to my room, but heard their shouts from my room. The shouts of the detainees, and the shouts of the police. I was terrified. I felt like I was hearing executions and waiting for my own. I saw them being dragged away, handcuffed. 

I went on another hunger strike for 5 days, because we heard that those in Spain were abandoned on the street, and I felt like my turn was next. The Serco guys would come every day and say ‘You’re about to be deported, why are you striking?’ 

After 5 days I started eating again. The lawyer was encouraging me and telling me that my case was strong. She said that if it goes to court, there should even be compensation because of the way they took me. But despite that, I felt despair, and for the first time ever I thought of suicide. I was homeless in the Netherlands and in Spain, but the first time I thought of suicide was in the detention centre. Thinking of the three huge guards in black who would come to my room and take me by force. I had nightmares about it. I was angry. I’m not an angry guy but I was so angry. I felt hopeless. 

They put me on the red list, which means people who are a suicide risk. They came every day to check my room. I tried to move away from those thoughts. Slowly my mental health got a bit better. But today is the 15th and I have a deportation order for 17th. So the thoughts of suicide are getting stronger. I am trying to stay with the guys here to stop thinking about it. Every day the fear is getting worse. 

After everything that has happened, I have no more faith in the security services, in the Home Office, anything. After the raids and everything. The house with my father is the only place I feel safe. This is the life of the refugee and the migrant. My journey as a refugee from the war in Yemen till now – there’s always imprisonment and detention waiting for me.

They will sleep rough, there is no support, they are homeless.

From a person in Brook House IRC:

They deal with us well here, but detention is bad.

When you put an asylum seeker in prison its difficult.

We are on hunger strike, because we need to know why they deported our friends today. 12 people, now they are homeless.

We feel sorry about our friends who were detained and taken to Spain, we received a call from them, they say that the government doesn’t give them accommodation or support, they will sleep in the street. They will sleep rough, there is no support, they are homeless.

That happened today, and because of that we are on food strike. Thirty people.

Maybe half us have been on food strike already for 15 days – they have lost more than 10 kilos of weight.

We will be on strike until we are released, because we are not criminals, we are not dangerous.

We are just asylum seekers.

They put us in a room, they close the door from 9pm till 9am, inside the room. 7 people tried to commit suicide during the past month. So when we hear that about our friends, committing suicide and being deported to live on the streets, its bad news, we are frustrated, we can’t sleep.

So maybe 80% of us have psychological problems – lack of sleep, no appetite.

Some of them said that ‘had we known that we’d be put in prison we’d prefer to die in our country than to claim asylum’.

There is no dignity here for a human.

We will be patient until we see what will happen. Everyone waits for his destiny. We don’t know if they will deport us or release us, we don’t know. And deporting is not an easy decision to take, it changes a life. It changes life. It takes way dignity. Someone lives in peace, and they make them homeless. I’s too much to handle. Can you imagine that, 12 people who were sent today to Spain, they beg just for a blanket to sleep, and no-one gives it them.

I ask my friends every day in the morning: ‘is it to reach this life that I jeopardised my soul and my money, coming by the sea?’ – it was so dangerous for everyone to reach here. We already faced such a bad and harsh life in our country, so to face it more here is something difficult.

That’s our story.

Brook House protestor on his deportation: “I was still bleeding, there was blood everywhere.”

This statement was given after the persons charter flight deportation to France from the UK under the Dublin Regulation. They had been part of hunger strike protests since August 13th 2020. The night before their removal, 8 people attempted suicide and 3 were taken to hospital at Brook House IRC.

I was in the UK for 2 months and then I spent 1 month in Brook House. While I was in Brook House I had a lot of anxiety issues. I tried to see a doctor, but could only see him once a week.

On the night of the deportation I self-harmed before the flight and they took to me to the hospital. I was there for 4 and half hours, they said to come back to change the bandages the next day and check my injuries. But they didn’t follow the advice of the doctor, they deported me the next day.

When they took me back to Brook House from the hospital I was put in an isolation cell and was watched 24/7. I was in the cell for 6 hours, they transported me from the hospital to the cell in a wheelchair. I was still in a wheelchair when 4 guards took me to the car which drove me to the airport. They put a mask on me but I was still bleeding from my face. When we reached the airplane, they couldn’t put the wheelchair on the plane, they didn’t try to. I couldn’t get up and move, two of the guards had to pick me up and carry me on their shoulders onto the airplane.

I was tied with a cloth around my hands and my waist. There were four guards with me and during the whole flight, they sat next to me, one on either side and in front.

I was in a lot of pain, I was still bleeding, there was blood everywhere. When we reached Clermont Ferrand in France, the guards had to carry me off the plane on their shoulders again. They took me to a doctor who tested me for coronavirus and finally gave me a wheelchair to sit in. Another doctor came to see if they could deport me immediately from France and put me on another flight, but said my injuries were too bad for me to be deported again. They didn’t check to help me, just for procedure. They took me in the wheelchair, and drove me 15 minutes away to sign some papers to give my fingerprints. They gave me two different pieces of information, they said I need to leave the country immediately but the translator told me I need to sign on every 15 days. I’m very confused. I tried to go to the UK and they sent me back to France and now France want to send me back to Kuwait, I don’t know what to do.

I’m now being helped by some friends, but now I need to leave because I can’t stay. I don’t know what to do, I’m so confused. Where am I supposed to go? There’s no humanity.

Brook House protestor on his deportation: “It was the hardest night of my life.”

This statement was given after the persons charter flight deportation to France from the UK under the Dublin Regulation. They had been part of hunger strike protests since August 13th 2020. The night before their removal, 8 people attempted suicide and 3 were taken to hospital at Brook House IRC.

Telephone interview with a deportee from Britain to France August 27, 2020, 2:00 pm

Q: How do you feel on the night of your deportation from Britain?

A: It was the hardest night of my life. Break heart so great that I seriously thought of suicide, I put the razor in my mouth to swallow it; I saw my whole life pass quickly until the first hours of dawn.

The treatment in detention was very bad, humiliating and degrading. I despised myself and felt that my life was destroyed, but it was too precious to lose it easily. I took the razor out from my mouth before I was taken out of the room, where four large-bodied people, wearing armour similar to riot police and carrying protective shields, violently took me to the large hall at the ground floor of the detention, I was exhausted, as I had been on hunger strike for several days. In a room next to me, one of the deportees tried to resist and was beaten so severely that blood drip from his nose. In the big hall, they searched me carefully and took me to a car like a dangerous criminal, two people on my right and left, they drove for about two hours to the airport, there was a big passenger plane on the runway, we were 12 people deported and each person had four guards inside the plane, and I saw a large number of people in uniform on the plane. That moment, I saw my dreams, my hopes, shattered in front of me when I entered the plane.

I fled the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after I was beaten in public in front of people and tortured in prison, and upon my arrival in Britain, I felt temporary safety and that life gave me a new opportunity for a decent life and dignity.

A month after my arrival in Britain, I applied to study a bachelor’s degree in business administration online and got admission. I was staying in Birmingham temporarily while awaiting the completion of the interview procedures for my asylum application.

My ambition was great to complete my higher education and to bring my wife to Britain, and my dreams to serve people and society and support the country that opened a new human life for me.

It was the shock of life until the blood in my veins dried up throughout the period of detention and I spent the time sitting on my bed in an unbelievable state of amazement, sweating day and night and my temperature rose despite the cold weather in the room.

I was the only Yemeni in the plane, among the rest of the Iraqi and Kuwaiti nationalities, and one of them was full of blood on his clothes, face and body because of his attempt to kill himself. We arrived in Germany after 3 hours of transit and then to France for another 3 hours.

We took off from Stansted Airport via a company called Titan Airways based of Stansted Airport. I learned that previously there was a military base used for deportation.

Upon our arrival in France, the French police was there waiting for us, and we were handed a paper with the address of the place where we were previously fingerprinted and an address for follow-up.

The French authorities did not provide any form of humanitarian support, even water, as the simplest example.

Currently, I am trying my best to help the rest who are at risk of deportation, by contacting several charitable and human rights organizations.

Entry to Britain will not stop due to the very bad conditions in France and the inhumane treatment there, where refugees are left on the streets exposed to dangers and diseases, especially with the spread of the Corona epidemic among refugees in Calais camps, in which the French authorities do not take the necessary measures to protect them, as refugees expel those who were infected and isolating.

Attempts to smuggle into Britain continue, as many have told me here. I don’t have any expenses or money to struggle to survive. If I obtained safety in France, the right to residency, and the right to work, I would not think of asylum elsewhere, and I would be useful for society and the country, but France does not fulfil the minimum of its humanitarian responsibility towards refugees.

End.

Brook House Protest: I’m still on a hunger strike, and I will continue the strike.

I’m from Yemen. I’ve seen war in all of its details, all of its destruction, death, repression, mines, death, everything. My uncle, friends, and relatives, died. I remember those who died, our most beloved. I lived war. I only left after I experienced it. We, young men, are a target. We were targeted by the Houthis because my relatives worked in hospitals and helped the injured. To this day every time I call my family or friends, I receive news that this or that friend died by stepping into a mine, or being hit by shells or missiles.

My whole neighborhood is destroyed. I lived the war in all of its details. When things went really bad, I tried to leave. I did not tell my family that I would leave the country, I only told them that I will go to a relatively safer city in Yemen. I borrowed money from this and that friend, then went to Mauritania. We walked by the border with Mali. We were caught by this gang, and they threatened to take our organs. We were stuck between smugglers and human traffickers. They threatened to take our organs or blackmail our families. My family did not know I left; that would’ve devastated them. We were able to get out of that, and we reached Algeria. We were sleeping in the desert cold; taken from one smuggler to another. From Ain Saleh, for a few months, to Ghardaia, where the Algerian army detained us for 15 days. They took everything from us, and deported us to the Niger desert. I still remember to this day, the soldier told me, “this is the road to Niger, this is the road to death.”

We were accompanied by Palestinians and others. We wandered from one region to another. And we were held in this room on the border with no toilet. We used plastic bags. We were there for a few weeks. Eventually we managed to enter Morocco, but we were caught and deported to Algeria, and they were going to deport us to Niger, but we escaped the Algerian army and returned, without any money. We slept on the streets. We tried to get to Spain, to Melilla. It took us 3 months to enter. After nearly 25 attempts, we did. We were beaten really badly. They treated us like slaves, not like refugees.

We entered Spain. They put us in a building with 600 people from all nationalities. I am short. I was subjected to beatings and sexual harassment. Whenever I tried to file a complaint to the Spanish guards, they would either laugh at me or would not understand what I said. It was 40 days in hell. I wished I could return to Yemen. Sometimes we washed the guards’ clothes so they wouldn’t beat us.

Then they transferred me somewhere else, because I complained a lot. I could barely walk 30 metres. Then they transported us to Valencia, and kicked us out into the streets. I spent three weeks on the streets, knocking the doors of one charitable society after another, but we were only met with rejection. The police treated me like a criminal, and used pepper spray on me, even though I’m a refugee. Even on the streets in Spain, I was sexually harassed. When I realised things are not going to work out in Spain, I decided to migrate, to Belgium.

I’ve seen people scattered on the streets in Belgium. We had our fingerprints taken in Spain, in Germany, and now we’re in Belgium, eating and sleeping on the streets, and being chased on the streets. I was going to request asylum in Belgium, but then I saw the situation of my peers, and some told me that they came over like I did, and were then thrown into the streets. Five years in war, and I thought I was brave among my family, but here I am being subjected to sexual harassment and the like. We moved to France. I contacted my family and told them I’m in France. I asked them for money so I can pay to the smuggler to enter Britain since there we would not face beatings and the like. From Dunkirk, which is filled with smugglers, we had difficulty, since we Arabs are hated by Kurdish smugglers, and so we faced difficulty.

We tried and tried. One day a smuggler told us if he sees us there again, he will kill us. We kept roaming France for a month. We reached Calais, and it’s filled with smugglers. I thought Europe would be a heaven. I developed a skin condition in Spain that they refused to provide treatment for.

The sea was my last hope. I thought to myself, if I don’t reach Britain, at least I will die in the sea, instead of returning to the streets of Europe. I was hoping that if I get to Britain, I will finally be able to live and start a life, and all the bitter days would be over; that it would be a watershed. I wrote my will and handed it to a friend, just in case, so he would tell my family, so they would forgive me. We were in the sea for eight hours. I felt regret. Why did I leave my family, why have them live in war on their own. I thought I’m selfish, because I left them. I should’ve continued to live with them. Not leave them and live on my own. Now when I call my family, they still struggle with what I used to struggle with. When I reached Britain, I thought I reached a safe harbour. You know, one would hope to die in his homeland, in his mother’s arms, to see his family and loved ones.

I reached Britain, and spent 4 months trying to build a new life, until that day. I had a GP. I explained to him my physical and mental health, and he provided me with care, until that day. We were in our place, I was happy, I was optimistic, and then all of a sudden, the police came over and took us. I asked them what crime did I commit, but they just took us to detention. They told me you have a fingerprint in Spain. I told the investigator, and the lawyer, if I was a refugee there why would they have me sleep on the streets? No matter what I said they would not believe. They just told me, ‘this is the law’.

I’m still on a hunger strike, and I will continue the strike. I told them that if I am to be deported to Spain, I will not be deported alive. I will not go back to a life of homelessness, to those who beat us and harassed us. You cannot know how I feel right now, since you’re not in my place. I’m only telling you a small portion of what happened. I can go on forever. I lost my family, my father, my mother, my friends, my city, and they’re all still in war. I thought that Europe would be a heaven on earth, that I will get to live and make something out of myself. Now, I think I lived like a king in my country. My last hope was Britain. I crossed the sea with my kafan on my hand, I either get to the shore or die. We faced gangs and threats, but Britain ruined everything. They want to get us back to point zero.

We’ve been here for two weeks. They lock us in our room from 9PM to 9AM. From day one I went on strike. Here, you’re subject to deportation at any moment. Every night, I can barely sleep. I’d wake up to every passing shadow, to every passing guard. Every time, I tell myself, “this is it”. I can’t even begin to describe it. If you look at my life, from beginning to end, you’d feel bad over all the time you lost, all the years gone. Five years lost to war, a year or so lost in Europe. I will not go back to live through that suffering again. My family calls me, and I tell them, “they put us in schools” and “I am now studying”. I don’t tell them that I am facing deportation. If we are deported, there is nothing but death. They think we came from a paradise. No, we came from the hell of war in Yemen, hell of displacement, hell of smuggling, and now they want to ruin everything.

You don’t even know how it’s like here with the guys and how we’re feeling. As soon as our room is closed, we’re tense and waiting. Where are we going to be deported to? Spain and the streets. To the starting point.

All that I experienced in the war in Yemen does not reach this level of suffering. And here we are waiting, for our execution. They tell us they’re just enforcing the law. I do not envy others, but if this is the law, why is it selectively enforced. I know others who had fingerprints elsewhere who were granted asylum. We are waiting for the 27 of August, the day we die. They either leave us here, or deport us. If I knew this was what I was going to face, I would’ve preferred to die in my homeland. At least there I’d see my family. I’m full of regret. I am selfish. I left my family. I would rather die close to my mother than on their streets. They sentenced us to death.

Brook House Protest: I am on hunger strike. I haven’t eaten since I enter here.

I have a deportation ticket on the 26th to Germany. I was rejected three times from the high court. I still have my paper from the high court saying I have been rejected, but because my fingerprint was taken in Germany they want to take me back. I have been in Brook House from the 14th of August. I came by boat from Calais. There is no country that has taken me as an asylum seeker. I have a fingerprint in Greece and in Germany so I am stuck. I am now in the Observation Room in Brook House, I am monitored by someone who is checking me every 15 minutes. This has been happening for three days. I am on hunger strike. I haven’t eaten since I enter here. Since 14th I take water only and now I don’t drink or take any food. I hope I will be released so I can start my life here. I just want the people to feel like what I have passed through. I don’t want anyone to have what I have experienced passing through this life. But if someone has, I swear they won’t even last one day with this life. I feel like when immigration detained me they sent me to my death. I want to change my solicitor, no one has helped me. No one has given me any hope until now. Every time I am always searching for solicitor.

I started my journey from Yemen to Malaysia, I was there for six years but I cannot have a good life in Malaysia. I don’t have the right to seek for asylum there. From Malaysia I moved to Iran. I was tortured in Iran. In Iran they have guns and took everything I have. When I arrived to Turkey I try five times to go to Greece. Five times. The Turkey border guards tried to drown me, five times, when I tried to cross by boat. On the sixth time I enter into Greece, I stay 1 year and 4 months. After I finish my paper in Greece, I went to Germany. I ask for asylum in Germany, they rejected me the first and the second time, on my third time, I went to the high court, but the judge rejected me also. I stayed for 7 months as a homeless in Belgium. In Belgium, the police always come to take our things, our clothes, and throw it, because I am sleeping in the street. The police they don’t let me sleep. I decided to move to Dunkirk, a city in France, there is a lot of gangs there, they have guns, they will kill anyone trying to go to these places, because they have occupied a lot of parking for the lorries that are crossing to the UK. They are smugglers, they are taking you places to try to go to UK. And then I went to Calais and I sit in the Jungle. I sit there for 4 months. I was trying to go to the UK but it didn’t work. The police in Calais, one day they wake you up and the next day they let you sleep, then wake you up, then let you sleep. Once they took our camp. The police they are always throwing tear gas. After 4 months I pull some money to enter the UK. In UK, I enter on _______, and then on the 14th of August I was detained.

Without simple people there is no world. The victim of war are only simple people, the victim of hunger are only simple people. The country is standing up by the simple people. And we are the simple people. We are the land, we are the planet. We just want some respect.

We are only just human. We are only plain. But in fact, it’s things killing things. The struggling over struggle.

And the stupid regulation over stupid regulations.

The purpose of our hunger strike is to reach our voice

We are in a very depressed situation. We are on hunger strike since 6 or 7 days. The purpose of our hunger strike is to reach our voice, but the staff in the detention centre are saying that even if you are on hunger strike your voice won’t reach. After visiting the mental and psychological doctor they sent reports to the home office, but they say you are not having any mental illness and accordingly they are refusing us. While most of the people here are suffering so many struggles during their journey to the UK, and this is not logical actually, that the home office are refusing the reports of the doctor.

I have not had an appointment with the doctor – it was supposed to be today but the interpreter was not available so they have postponed to this afternoon. When I reached the detention centre I told them I have sinus and colon problem and they hadn’t brought medicine, just yesterday they brought the medicine. And they told me I have to take the medicine with food and they told me I have to eat in order to take the medicine, but I am on hunger strike.

Even our voice was not accepted by the Home Office officer. We have conducted an interview with a Home Office officer in the detention centre and we explained to him the pain, the assaults, all the struggles during our stay in Europe. And they said this is not our business, this is not our issue and you need to discuss this with your solicitor, they are not bothered. And they need to hear our voice. I’m wondering why the Home Office did not hear our full story, our full suffering from the struggles and the pain that we thought and felt during our journey in France and Spain, and all the countries that we passed through.

They just met us very briefly in Dover and took a very quick screening, a very quick interview with us, and gave us a ticket. How come they are removing us? They need to hear our story.

When we tried to add a comment to our interview with the Home Office officer, they are not giving us any opportunity to do that. There are many attempted suicides from people inside the detention centre.

When I reached the detention centre I told them that I have a phobia of narrow places, and they have delayed my appointment so many times. Now my appointment was supposed to be in the morning and they have delayed it to the afternoon, and I’m afraid this is happening to so many people and I’m afraid that they are delaying the reports for the sake of removing me. I’m afraid that I am not fit to travel.

We need the people, the Home Office, to hear us, to hear our story. Yes, we have a fingerprint in Spain but the asylum system there is very poor. They have thrown us in the street. We were blackmailed from the human traffickers, we were assaulted by the police officers in Spain, we don’t want to go back because we were in a very difficult situation in Spain. It’s not a country that we are welcomed in. We are not able to live in a country that’s not protecting our human rights, we already fled from Yemen that has a lot of violations and war and its own struggle we are looking for a safe country that gives us new opportunities to live and gives us new life. This is not found in Spain. How come are we going back to Spain?

I came from Ecuador to Spain in transit. They forced me to fingerprint and they put me in detention for 9 days, although I told them I have a phobia for narrow places. They psychologically tortured me for 9 days and then threw me on the street.

After they released us from the detention centre and the airport we found ourselves on the street and we stayed 2 days in a shelter with no homes and no accommodation, until we found an Arabic man who took us temporarily in his home. And he told us to go to a person in Belgium who is welcoming us into his accommodation.

Most of the detainees inside the detention centre want the people to hear their stories, their struggles, and what they are suffering. We came to the UK because we believe the UK is the right country, where we can protect our human rights, and we are having a high expectation that the Uk government will consider our cases. After the struggles we faced in Spain we prefer to die in UK rather than going back. I told the Home Office that I’d prefer to die here rather than going to Spain again.

I fled Yemen because I was tortured by the Houithi regime. I was not able to complete my study. They fired me from the university and I was assaulted by this regime. We came from our country that is facing the most massive humanitarian crisis in modern history to find a safe place. I was not able to find it in Spain, the first country I went to and so I came to find it in the UK.

I’m looking for a new life. I’m looking to merge with the British community, serve the British community, be having a new life with new opportunities, reunion with my family.

Since we reached we felt that we are in our country. We are in safe hands, and we are ready to defend them, to defend England with ourselves. Our house is destroyed, we don’t have any things in Yemen so far. We lose our families, we lose our assets, we lose everything and we came here looking for new life and new opportunity.

Yemen is already in a crisis and the humanitarian situation is struggling. There is a lot of poverty, starvation, war violence. People are not able to find food, drink water, clean water, the diseases are everywhere; cholera, covid-19 and other new diseases. People cannot get a treatment; the health system totally collapsed, the country now is not any more a country. The people there are dying and nobody there is helping them.

The devastating outcomes of this war made many Yemenis flee to other countries and as a Yemeni refugee in the UK – I found its my dream to come here.

My mum and family are suffering from several diseases and they haven’t got any treatment so far.

The smugglers actually cheated me, I was supposed to travel to the UK but they sent me to Spain rather than going to the UK. The smuggler forced me to travel to Spain and there is no opportunities. In the beginning you know I was planning to go to the UK but the smuggler forced me to travel to Spain and I said if it is a safe country I don’t mind. I wanna start my life, my plan is to start a new life, a safe life.

But now I feel my future is black. Bad life then next it became good life, then bad life, until now it’s bad.

This is the second time I have been detained. I enter into this country on the _______ and since I enter, they took me to Dover for 2 days and then they moved me to Tinsley House. I stay there around 1 month and pandemic came, they release me by immigration there. And I move for several hotels. ______, then _____, then _____. Recently in ______. I received paper from the Home Office that I should go to Luna House in London. So when I go there, they detain me again in Brook House. Now they want to send me again to Spain after I sit here in this country for more than 5 months and 15 days until now. I stay in this country which mean this is the longest time I sit in European countries including UK. This is what is going on in UK, but if you want to know from where I grow up, where I born, I can give you details about.

Well I born in Yemen for two years and then my family decided that Yemen is not good for the normal life. They moved to Saudi Arabia to work and when I arrived 13 my dad is dead. And I’m the only boy for my mum. My mum she’s still in Saudi Arabia when I arrived 18, I went to Yemen to study as a doctor. I stay there for 1 year. That was in 2013 when I was 19. And during that time the Houthi movement is start. It’s the movement to occupation the city centre it’s Sanaa it’s the capital city. And there I was study there. They catch me near to my University, they understand that I have different accent, which belong to Saudi Arabia. They try to investigate about me and they know I’m from Yemen and they know that I have home in Sanaa.

They go to my home and take it and they want for good because I from, I came from Saudi Arabia. And they have a lot of information about their life, lifestyle, how they think, where is the important place, they want to, they were, they were just interested in military questions. So I arrived to that point that I should go back to Saudi Arabia to bring my mum they said we will stay in this home until you came. I run away from them. I run away from these people. I say a lot of things that… I’m from Yemen, but I never feel that I belong to a country. If you will go from Yemen, you will not believe what is going on. So I back to Saudi Arabia. In 2014 I found myself useless, until someone get me a van, I work illegal in the company… you know it’s called Creem, for transportation. I was working as assistant project manager and during that time, I can handle myself. I was having salary, I was having normal life. I was travelling, I was studying in University. I have a certificate from England, because this University they have a branch in Saudi Arabia. So when I graduate I find myself facing the authorisation system that belong to the new King, they want to employ many Saudi so I find myself I can’t work there and I can’t offer myself to pay for my ID because they are taking a lot of tests for the foreigner. I arrive to that point if I couldn’t find work, this is mean my visa would be expire so I would back to Yemen, I thought. And I don’t want that.

So in _________, I moved from Saudi Arabia to Mauritania, by airplane. And from Mauritania I cross to Mali, this is in Africa. When you move illegal there are many smugglers, they will transport you from place to another place. You will pay every time. And I find myself with a smuggler he said he will take us, 200 for everyone. And he appeared me if I don’t pay, he tortured us, I were with some of African people. He was raping some women and he was have gun and he said I just want 500 Dir and I will leave you. I stay with him for 8 days, some people they cannot pay, he sell them for other people, but I contact with my friend in Saudi Arabia, he is working in Unilever, he is from Palestine, I told him what’s my problem and he said, “okay I will pay 500”. After 8 days I find the hard time with him. I broke my nose, he put a knife in my chest and even he banged me in my left, my right hand in my shoulder with back of the gun. And when he understand that I will pay for him he to start to treat me nicely, until take he take his money, and he left me on the street, then I complete my way with the other smugglers. I enter into Algeria. For Mali into Algeria, and then I… it was 3 steps, because Algeria is a big place, and then I enter from Algeria to Morocco. From Morocco I was trying to go to Melilla by the door and the police from Morocco they threaten me also, one of them they slap me in my face because I was trying to enter to Spain, in Melilla. It’s part of Africa, if you don’t understand that, because people they don’t understand how can you go from Morocco to Spain by walk. Yes, there is a place belong to Spain. So when I find myself I cant go from the gate I decide to go by the sea… he insult my mum, he insult my mum and slap me. I don’t accept that but I say that I will never go through this door. I will try to go by sea again. And you know that they say, there is a lot of people are dying, one of my friend he is die from the sea on the 15th of September, his name is Hilal. The seas mean you will die or you will survive. That’s what’s going on.

I enter into a place in island that belongs to Spain military that is called “Chafaner”. And the military they let me stay for two days and after two days there is something that happen to me. There is a woman, from the military, she want me to clean my, she want me to clean that place that is provided to me, like a big room, and during that time she was monitoring me when I was in my room. She treat me bad you know like I’m shit you know. She broke my heart but after two days there is a, they call it in English, Red Cross, they bring a ship to take me. I was, we were two, me and one boy, he is also from Yemen. They took us to Melilla again. But this time I enter to Melilla by sea, by the help from the military. In Melilla I stay there for three months in a camp, and in this camp in Melilla there is a lot of thieves outside of the camp. So I fight one, four, five, six people, six boys, they are teenagers you know, but because they are teenagers, they are surviving by stealing people things. To be honest I fight with them, they don’t take anything but one of my hand, in the left hand there is one finger is still hurting, until now, it’s not moving smoothly, until now. So I said it’s okay, still in Africa, and when I go to Spain, these things will be different.

They move me to Cadiz, it’s like island, again. But this is not a problem, I find myself in a room with 6 people. All the people with me they are evicted asylum seeker but they have the right to stay for 3 months, but in my case, I will be accepted because I have a war in my country so I was not afraid about to be evicted to be honest. But there is also things happen because they are knowing each other, they are living each other. They always look at me with strange eyes and stole shoes from me and my headphones. And one day one of them he get angry and they banged me my head. It doesn’t hurt me actually but I said as much as I can I will not let this going on, so I took my right, I called the police, I speak with them in English, they bring one of the police officer, when they came, one of the boys he speak Spanish, he told them “there is nothing, don’t worry, there is no problem here”. So he lie just to close this case. And I speak with the police, I told them “listen he is threatening me, that he will broke my head until the blood is here. He said to me directly “no blood, no case”. I said “okay”. He said if he banged you with your head, you can go to the emergency too, we have people. So, I find myself the police is not standing with me and even the place that I’m living there is not good. Because it is easy to understand the asylum seeker, they have different rules there. You go with different organisation and you’re a victim. Maybe you will have a good organisation and maybe you will not.

I arrived to the point that I will not stay in that place in Cadiz. So I moved to Barcelona and in Barcelona, I go to the Red Cross and I told them I have the right to stay in Spain and I want home. They told me that I should to come in… I apply for them on the _________, they told me come in __________, so I should come to Barcelona for 3 months, see what’s going on, to can provide accommodation, so they don’t provide accommodation, in Barcelona like homeless, I meet bad people. I told the Red Cross how I can survive, they told me you can go to for the homeless, is a place for the government, they open their doors at 9 you can sleep until 7 and they will kick your ass out, until you can’t more. So when I go to sleep once, I find a lot of them, they are drinking, they don’t let you sleep. It’s hard for me. So I said at least I’m going to search for a place so I can survive.

I find myself in Paris with Romanian people. They are also bad people but they are nicely  because I am homeless and they speak Spanish, they treat me nicely. I go with them. They were stealing things from the groceries, they would do bad things, but at the same time, I was surviving with them now. I’m not bad boy but how can I survive. Until in one day, I meet one, they said, “go to Calais”. I said “what there is?”, he said “in Calais you will have your own camp”. I said, “really I will have a camp for myself?” I were happy really. Because this is what I want, I want to sleep to alone, I want just to eat. That’s it. My request it was so easy, I find myself in Calais. And then I find a lot of people there trying to go to the UK. I find a lot of them. I ask everyone. I meet a lot of Yemenis, they are coming from German, they get evicted because their fingerprint. I find a lot of them they came from all European countries they get evicted because of their fingerprint. And all of the people they want to run to UK. So I decided I want to run there. Why? Because when the people come to the UK they are treated good. I will stay in this country. So I was finding a good country to belong. Because since I born, I never belong to any country, until now. I can tell you. I own this Yemen passport, yes, but I never feel like I belong to country. Because I am education, and I want to belong to country, I want to know what’s going in my economy, you know I have different mind. I want to belong to a country. So I said UK. UK. I contacted my friend, they are Saudis, they are studying in UK, they told me “you can go _____ but don’t think you will have a good life, they are capitalism”, I said “I know what it means capitalism”, but it’s okay for me I can survive, because I speak this language. At least I can speak with anyone, I can tell anyone I feel pain directly, without to speak in Arabic, without using interpreter, because I feel bad when I were in Spain. I don’t speak Spanish, the people there treat me bad, and when I want to speak, you can’t.

In Calais, I was trying to go to UK, there is a lot of things, where they are occupation the barking for the lorries. So in one day I want to do a chance and they threatening me I can’t and if I come again they will kill me, like Sudanese. Maybe you know there are a lot of things over there, they are killing people. In one day there were six officers that came to move people from where they are sleeping, they banged me in my head just to enter into the car to the police station, until my eyes are bleeding from inside. So I stay there in Calais for 3 months trying to go, in ______ I was having bad idea that I will go, I will swim for 5 minutes from the beach to the boat, I can enter to the boat, and enter to the ship that will go to UK. It’s easy, I’m a good swimmer, I came from Jeddah, Jeddah is on the beach, I like fish I know how to snorkelling, I know how to diving, even I know how to do fishing. It’s easy, so I enter into the sea, and I find it, the weather, I don’t think about the weather, I thought coming from 5 degree country, the weather is 5 degree. So my body is stop, all my body I can’t move it, after 2 mins I’m stuck in the sea, I find the wave is move me to out of the beach. I was screaming. I feel die. I stay there for 40 minutes, no one, no one listen to me. I thought I will die. Until, the police they came, they give me their hand, I give them my hand and I wake up in the hospital. It was nightmare for me, and in that time I find smugglers, who told me, that known me for long time and he’s nicely with me and he said “you know that people, they are paying 5000 pounds, if you can offer 2000 euro, I will take you with me”, I contact with my friend _______ I don’t have brothers, I don’t have family really. He said “it’s fine in my salary it will come and I will give it to you, just wait me for one month”. I arranged the money. I try once in February and the waves was so high, I was almost died, but I don’t scared this time because I feel death before I went. But the people they are crying, they were bringing the people to back. We back again to Calais after 1 hour. On ______ we try again and we enter to the UK.

So there is things that you don’t know. But maybe you want’ to know. In Paris, they want to appear me bisexual things and I resist that, I resist that he was nicely with me, he was just seeing if I will accept or not. But in Barcelona, one of them he wanted to rape me and I broke his head by a bottle of glass and I run away to Paris.

I told you all of my story now. So I’m just running away. Running, running, running.  Until I arrive to the UK and they want to kill my life again to start from zero. The problem is where will I go now? I don’t want to go to Spain. I want to go to another country. I want to go to Canada, I want to go to America. I want to go to any country, I don’t want back to Europe. Even if UK they don’t want me it’s okay. I don’t want to fight their regulation but at least search for a good place for me. I’m really feel bad. There are some people they cross from Spain, just they have fingerprint and they don’t want to Spain, their idea to go to UK, their own choice. But no, I want to stay in Spain, but I can’t stay in Spain. Really I can’t, I can’t. Even in France, one of the police, I forgot to tell you they banged me in my eyes. I still have scars in my eyes. It was bleeding on my face. I know, you will not believe, but I still have a video when he banged me. Is still have the video when I go out from the building in Calais, and before I go from the organisation in Spain, sorry I really forget things, before I go from my organisation I send an informal email to the United Nations, I told them everything what I see in this organisation because I was just asking them to move me to another organisation, but they said we will do our own investigation and no one was look after me. S what else, I call the police, he doesn’t help me, I contact with the United Nations, they don’t help me. I go to Barcelona, they don’t help me. I go to Calais, they don’t help me, the police. So I came to this country. I’m sorry if I bother you but I came by force. So now what? If you want to kill me? They detained me twice, I’m the only boy here in this detention, who is detained twice.

For me, they just detain me, and then no they don’t give me ticket, but for other people, many of them they have ticket except for one maybe. I think there are only two they don’t have ticket, including me. But other’s they have ticket on 27. And today one, our boys, they cancelled their ticket. One only and the others they have ticket, and for me I don’t have ticket. But I’m detained. I spoke with the mental health I told them I’m hearing noise from my head, they don’t care. I told them I can’t sleep, they don’t care. I told them I have nightmares, they don’t care. I told them, I’m taking medicine it’s for my high pressure and I have anxiety in my heart. I have an irregular beating heart you know. I explain everything, but no one cares. Really, I mean it. No one cares. Not immigration, United Nations, European countries. No one cares, no. The problem is UK they are taking our case and country, there is one, his name is Martin Griffiths from 2018, he’s from UK… everything that is going on with this country which is Yemen, no one cares. Unfortunately European countries, they are just lying. This is what I understand now. They are just like an angel from outside and they are dead from inside. I’m sorry to say that, but this is what I discover. I travel from many countries. My ex-girlfriend is from Europe also and when I enter Spain, I know this people they are kindly, but their system for an asylum seeker is bad. It’s exhausting, They are just treating you like a homeless. What I want from my paper if you will not give me accommodation, at least you will give me permission to work. I have high education. Just give me permission to work and I will manage myself. Nothing. Nothing. And now what? Suicide? I can’t. They just give me reason. What I will kill myself? Just help yourself, you can’t even die. No one cares. I came by myself by the way, the taxi he told me, “I will give you a new accommodation”. I said “you are lying, you will take me to the station, it’s okay I am going with, I am not afraid. If they do not want to give me my paper, it’s okay”, you know the God will fix my pain in one day. But now I feel my future is black. Bad life then next it became good life, then bad life, until now it’s bad.

Why can’t two people fall in love and be happy?

I met ____ about 5 year ago. We got married last year – last November – we got married. We’ve been to see about getting Leave to Remain so she can live here – remain here – get a British passport and everything. We’ve been to see many people – MPs, we’ve wrote letters – many solicitors, and no one has seemed, you know, to fully understand my side of things. Cause I’ve got rights in this country surely to God. I’m a British citizen so no one’s hearing our voice really. On both sides – mine and my wife’s.

She got bail – she got to sign every other Wednesday, and then last went down, last time we went down they’ve detained her. And she ended up in Bedford Detention Centre. And so, she’s still in there – just trying to get her released basically. She shouldn’t even be in there.

It’s devastating. It’s disgusting. How they treat people – and they’ve done this – without hearing her voice – just detained her.

The whole legal system wants overviewing. It wants independent summary to overlook all this innovation malarkey [missed] but my wife’s never worked, I spoke to her – she’s never signed on – never asked for money from the government. [missed] until we’ve got all this sorted out. I mean she wants to work, but she just can’t work. It will end her in more stuck.

They just treat everybody as one person – it’s not right. She’s an individual – it’s the individual cases surely. You know, it should be heard individually, not just treated as one person, sort of thing.

And I’m sure my wife will tell you the same thing basically. They’re going to protest – I just said to her – be careful – how you’re gonna do it sort of thing? Don’t cause more trouble for yourself … but yeah – hunger strike is alright – as long as it’s a peaceful demonstration that’s alright. I just said “Don’t get yourself into more stuck – but you already are.” Hopefully my wife will be next [released] then.

It was our anniversary last week – last Sunday. Obviously we couldn’t plan anything because she was stuck in there. I went down to go see her last Sunday – I sent her a card by the way – £20 in it – she’s not received that. So, where’s that gone?

I gave her money to put on her thing. I don’t know if she’s got that or not. She said she’d check but I don’t think she’s got that so, you know … it’s just exploiting people for sake of what [missed].

We’re applying for bail. So she’s still on bail – they can’t deport her. That’s where we are now – to get her out so we can fight this together at home. You can’t fight anything at the moment I mean how do you step forward … emails, bank statements, pay slips, so you can [missed], but we can’t fight this together – we need to fight this under the same roof and take on the system. But no one seems to hear our voice.

I follow our local news station yesterday – my news – local news broadcast – and they’ve not returned her call. It’s despicable it is – people don’t want to hear your voice. It’s like you haven’t got one. It’s outrageous how they’re treating people – it really is. If any good can come out of this albeit – people need to hear their voice.

It’s Christmas in 4 weeks time – you know – [she’s] no sooner coming home then when she first went in. It’s ridiculous … we were supposed to go away for a few days – just to – you know – try and put some more … cause I work , full time, so it would just be nice to go away – just to – you know, forget about work, forget about everything else and just spend time with just the 2 of us – together – like how it should be. And not thinking about work, stress and all that. But they’ve detained her. So that’s, goodbye to that.

I love her very much. It’s heartbreaking it really is, how they can treat people and not hear their voice. We’ve been together 5 year – we got married last year as I say.

We wrote letters to MPs – I think he instigated all this to be honest because as soon as we see him – all this started. And he was saying “oh we can’t get involved it’s Home Office sort of thing” – sure, deep down after that, I’m sure he’s instigated all this.

Before all this started – anything about bail, her signing papers, going down every other Wednesday – then detaining her – there was none of this until we went to see him. They say they can’t get involved – “it’s down to Home Office” – it’s baloney to be honest. How they treat people – it’s disgusting – everyone has a voice which needs to be heared.

She is brave – she’s very brave – I fall apart many a time – I’ve fallen apart here – I’ve been on phone to her. She should be here. I’m not eating, I’m not sleeping hardly – I’m not hardly eating – just existing really – it’s just disgusting. I’m going to work tired and worn out – I’m not sleeping – not getting my full rest – it’s stressful – both parts. But yeah no one wants to hear your voice – it’s like you haven’t got a voice. That’s basically it.

When we got married we had to go down to show who we were – that took time cause she’s not from England – she’s from Nigeria – we got a letter saying that we can get married – there’ll be no crimes in getting married. Why would they allow to get someone married and doing all this – there’s no sense in that at all. They said there’ll be no checks – none of this – none of that. She came here through work as visiting person – on a visiting visa – then she met me. I mean, why can’t two people fall in love and be happy?

The Hunger Strike is still on

I applied to the Home Office on family route and I got a letter of refusal. My husband quickly scheduled an appointment to see our local MP. A meeting was scheduled for us to see him. After the meeting, the assistant sent a link to my husband’s email where to seek for financial aid to travel to my country.

We contacted another lawyer who submitted additional information to the Home Office. While we were waiting for response, a letter came in through our door, which states that the Secretary of State has granted me bail and I should start reporting to sign.

Due to the clauses in the bail letter my husband decided to write to the Home Secretary to plead for assistance. [We were] told that MPs are not allowed to deal with issues that are outside their constituency and she gave us the name of our MP and phone number but we feel there was no reason to see him because we have already gone to him.

Before we got married, our Registrar sent our information to the Home Office requesting if we can go ahead and get married. After 2 weeks we went to the registrar. Two letters, one for me and my husband was sent through the post to our door, saying that we can go ahead and get married. A copy of the marriage certificate was sent to the Home Office.

My husband has to change his shift at work so that he can follow me down whenever i am due to sign. I have only signed twice and the third time I was detained where a letter of refusal was printed out and given to me. l was detained from 1:30pm to 18:00pm and then taken to Manchester. I was then brought to the detention centre in Bedford. My husband is now frustrated and feeling depressed.

The treatment we are getting here is not right. On our anniversary my husband travelled to see me. While we were kissing they came to me saying that we are not allowed to kiss. My husband just started crying because we being treated as criminal and making life hell for us.

I am trying for baby and l have gone to acupuncture who recommended some herbs to be taken three times a day. But since l was brought here I do not have access to them any more. I have gone to health centre here twice. I was told by the doctors that they cannot give me anything since they are not prescriptions from my surgery. I have requested if my husband can bring them to me. I was told herbs medicine are not allowed into the premises. Those herbs has helped reduced my cramping and bloating tremendously. Because I do not have access to them right now, the cramp have returned making me to feel uncomfortable, painful right down my abdomen and bloating continuously.

There was a chartered flight but people were able to come together to resist their harassment and frustration.

The hunger strike is still on. It started on Sunday and the food we were given was horrible. When some of us eat it, they will start to have stomach ache and vomiting.